The Indian Air Force (IFC, Delhi International) plans to significantly expand its airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) capabilities through the addition of six ex-Air India A320-200s and possibly more modified E145s, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria told technology news website Ele Times.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), a state-run defence company, announced plans to acquire and convert six of Air India's aircraft in December 2020. At that time, the project was estimated to require NR105 billion rupees (USD1.4 billion) in funding. However, even though more than half a year have passed since the initial announcement, the transaction has yet to be finalised and the aircraft inducted into conversion.

However, Bhadauria said that even as the six Airbus aircraft would significantly expand the Indian Air Force's AEW&C capabilities, they would still not suffice in light of growing tensions with China.

It is unclear how many additional E145s the DRDO and the Indian Air Force is planning to add. Bhadauria also did not explain whether the military would seek to order the aircraft directly from the manufacturer or source them from the second-hand market.

India's current AEW&C fleet comprises three EMB-145SMs as its AEW&C platform, although only two are deployed in active service and one remains used as a testbed. The three Embraer regional jets were acquired by the air force directly from the manufacturer and delivered in 2012 (two) and 2015 (one), the ch-aviation fleets module. The air force also has one Il-76A-50EI for electronic warfare.

Air India owns nineteen A320-200s, of which just four remain in service (alongside five units of the type dry leased from CALC).